Restaurant Review: Forty’s Chicken & Waffles
Forty’s Chicken and Waffles brings the official chicken & waffle scene to a downscale, easy-eating audience. The combo is not hard to find on tony brunch menus, but for those diners with a more downscale drive and a convenience lifestyle: Forty’s is for the people.
And Forty’s is really into putting chicken with waffles: waffle-fries, waffle-cones, and waffle-waffles. It’s got them all.
The waffle operation has set up shop inside the Old North Arcade. Up front is the arcade’s bar, but wind through an adventureland of retro video games, and around the final corner, there you’ll find the chicken. You can almost follow your nose, because the little outlet smells like sugar at an amusement park. It’s appropriate.
The sugary sweet aroma is probably courtesy the plentiful waffle and syrup scene. Even so, the poultry is just as prevalent on the menu. There are many ways to start, but one of the best is the most basic: Tendies.
The Tendies (chicken tenders, $8) are house made chicken tenders: crunchy-fried, piping hot and juicy. They’re served sitting atop an equally fresh-made waffle. You can dress the whole combo yourself in hot sauce and syrup, and there’s something to be said for the approachability of the whole presentation. While bone-in chicken served with waffles may have more classical integrity, the ease of pairing a chicken tender with a waffle feels like something worth appreciating. The waffle itself has classically crisp edges and a tender texture with deep pockets that were born to hold lakes of sweet syrup. There are waffle fries in the mix too, they’re pretty much on the side of everything on the menu, and they’re just as fresh-fried as the rest of the offerings.
So then, let’s move on to the house version of Tacos ($8). Again, they’re built around fresh, hot, crunchy chicken tenders, this time with a tangy coleslaw, tucked in a freshly made waffle-taco-shell. The thin waffle shell is less sturdy than a regular corn taco shell, so it breaks down pretty easily and the taco turns into fork food. It’s pleasant fork food, nonetheless.
For the waffle cone scene, a fresh made Cone ($8) is stuffed with the fried chicken tenders, the slaw, and macaroni and cheese. For whatever reason, the waffle cone holds together better than the taco. Still, it’s fork food. Eating a chicken tender out of a waffle cone feels weird.
The whole fresh-fried angle comes to a screeching halt with the Donut Sandwich ($8). The glazed donut, sliced, is still frozen even as it holds the hot and crispy chicken inside. Of course, it could be an edgy sensory experience, but it’s more likely an accidental oversight. Frozen doughnut chicken sandwich is a hard sell, even with the awfully nice (fresh) waffle fries on the side.
Forty’s is order-at-the-counter. With all the video games, it feels kind of like eating at the fair. There’s not a whole lot of seating, but the community tables are tall, so that makes it easy to squeeze in a few standing friends between seats at the table. You can find it all at 2591 N. High St.
For more information, visit fortyschickenandwaffles.com.